Our 6 year anniversary was Saturday! We dropped the girls with their Mimi & Papa and headed up for an evening in Park City. We celebrated at Butcher’s last year and couldn’t wait to go back again this year – so now I think that’s our anniversary thing.
Ryan talked Harry Potter with me all through dinner and then dropped me at the Old Navy Outlet to let me shop to my heart’s content. I love him.
One of my favorite parts of my anniversary is my Timehop. I get to see all these pictures from my reception, the photobooth, the temple. I get to see random things I was posting or talking about on July 22 in the years before I married Ryan, no idea that the day would be special for the rest of my life. I like to see the tributes I have posted for each of the anniversaries preceding this one. I mean, that’s why you get a bunch of amazing wedding photos. So you can post them on your anniversary for the next 50 years, duh.
I took some time to read the post I wrote last year. I’m very proud of this post. I think it’s one of the better and more important things I’ve written on this silly pointless blog. Five years felt big. It’s one of the taller hash marks on the ruler of marriage length. We also made it feel more significant by taking a solo vacation and leaving Reese, which we had never done in her 18 months of life.
But re-reading that post I could feel so tangibly WHY I wrote it and what I was trying to say. Five years is big, but five years felt extra big for us. It felt like ~more of a victory. Like when I was teaching and a struggling kid got a 75%. Sure, lots of kids landed in the 90s. But it was a much bigger deal for this kid to get to 75%, because it was harder for him. More work. More dedication. More struggle.
I am so proud of where I was last year on July 22, finally appreciating and accepting our struggles and hard work, instead of constantly comparing us to other couples. Marriage was just harder for us, and I spent so much time worrying about what that might mean or denying the fact entirely. But by our five year point, I finally just ~got it. Our struggles were predictable, manageable, and totally conquerable through simple kindness and forgiveness. Our marriage is a school of humility, and we’re both C students lol. Or maybe we’re A students, if the A stands for arrogant. Whatever it is, it’s ok and we’re ok and we’re working on it.
July 22 of last year I felt so comfortable and grateful with where we were, especially because it snuck up on us so fast. All of a sudden we were at 5 years of marriage. Frequent arguing and power struggles and lack of obsessive gushing sometimes made me feel like my marriage was bad or weak or some kind of “skim” version, but then it was like “wait. Five? Five years. I guess we’re doing a lot better than we thought?” And you know what? We were. There was nothing “skim” about our marriage. We did, and still do, fight a lot about stupid things. Power struggle over the radio station. Hate things the other person loves. But somehow each of those fights and the forgiveness (or sometimes just tolerance lol) that followed was a brick we added to the house of our marriage. And at five years I looked around and saw the skeleton of a pretty cool house, standing freely, ready for years more work but a house nonetheless.
Last year I looked around and was proud of that skeleton house, with no way of knowing that one week later we’d be listening to an on-call doctor explain that we were most likely miscarrying this little baby we’d only known a month. No way of knowing that Ryan was about to face some serious and scary health issues too. No way of knowing that September 2016 would be just the sh*tstorm of all sh*tstorms in every single area of our lives. No way of knowing who Malone was and how she would change our family. No way of knowing how many bricks a 3-day hospital stay for RSV would add to that house. No way of knowing we’d switch jobs twice more. No way of knowing the amazing projects and goals we were going to seize together this spring. No way of knowing the postpartum anxiety that would fundamentally change our dynamic. Just no way of knowing what was about to come and shake that skeleton house, place weight on it, store things in it. Little five year Danica had no idea, but she had worked really hard on that five year marriage and she was finally proud of it, even if it was just a little skeleton with lots of scaffolding.
So six years isn’t all that special in terms of benchmarks and rulers. But at six years I took a minute to be proud of that five year skeleton house that we fought for, tooth and nail. Because at six years I can’t see the skeleton anymore. It’s in there, hidden behind hard-won bricks and siding, bearing weight and giving us shelter.